Jana Palm is General Manager of Stugan, a world-class games accelerator in the middle of the Swedish woods. She has been there from the beginning and has helped build this unique project, which brings together talented game developers from all over the world and lets them work on their projects in an isolated place. She also works at a business incubator Sting where she helped build a games part of the incubator and now works as Sting Game Hub Manager. Additionally Jana works at Invest Stockholm on a project funded by the EU which has a goal to improve framework conditions for game companies in Sweden. She is a frequent guest and a speaker at international conferences like Casual Connect, Pocket Gamer, Slush, Level Up. Jana is often a judge in a game dev competitions such as Indie Prize, IMGA, Swedish Game Awards or IGF.
Nate is a concept artist and entrepreneur who grew up in Wisconsin. He learned to paint in Austin and he had a baby in San Diego. He is now making art for games, raising said baby, and living the dream in Madison. While not freelancing for clients like InXile, Ubisoft and Humanhead he runs his company StoryForge, releasing content for table top games.
Rob Martyn has been a chameleon in the electronic entertainment industry about as long as there has been one. Rob's history is a variety of roles, platforms, markets and brands - production, studio operations, marketing, analytics...online (before there was online), console, PC, mobile...casual, sports, edutainment, casino, Sims (yeah, that Sims)....EA Sports, AOL, Maxis, Zynga, Living Books, GSN Games. After a lifetime of development, Rob has spent 2 years bringing an operations mindset to mobile game marketing, and is looking to share with developers a "zero-fluff" marketing approach.
From his roots as the son of blue collar parents in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and not being able to afford college after high school, Tim went into the United States Navy as a Russian Linguist and Soviet Military Analyst at the end of the Cold War. Already building on a Russian Language Degree from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, Tim used his New GI Bill to obtain a B.A. in History and a minor in Film at the University of WIsconsin- Milwaukee. Faced witht he choice of teaching the history of Russian film or seeking out some other adventure, Tim sought out and earned a role doing his first love, making games in the then burgeoning video game industry. Tim's been a designer, producer, studio head and entrepreneur throughout his 26 years of professional game development, but he was designing games for fun ever since he learned to read and write, making pen and paper designs to play on his own or with friends. Tim worked all over the United States at various video game companies including, Dynamix, Sega of America, American Laser Games / Her Interactive, FASA Interactive, Human Head Studios, Big Rooster, Irrational Games and Fantasy Flight Interactive. However, Tim's deep love of his home state caused him to Madison and promote the efforts and talents of the local games industry. His goal is for Wisconsin to be seen as one of the premiere game development communities worldwide. Tim's worked on both large and small games from the table top to the arcade, PCs and video game consoles. Some of his exhaustive list of game credits include BioShock Infinite, Rune, Prey, the MechWarrior series, McKenzie and Co., The Vampire Diaries, A10 Tank Killer II, Aces of the Deep CD ROM, Redhurst Academy of Magic, and, most recently, The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game.
Alyssa Finley has been in the game industry since 1992 in roles including Programmer/Lead Programmer, Executive Producer, Technical Director, Director of Production, and Creative Director. She’s worked with teams creating games for franchises including BioShock, XCOM, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead. She's currently the Executive Producer on the Wolf Among Us 2 team at Telltale Games.
Andrew Williams (PhD) is an Associate Professor of art and design history and the program director for the BFA in Game Design and Development – Art as well as the BFA in Entertainment Design at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Williams teaches and conducts research at the intersection of the history of art, design, interactive media and film. He is the author of the video game history textbook, History of Digital Games: Developments in Art, Design and Interaction. His other projects include augmented reality educational games for the Minnesota History Center as well as the establishment of a playable historical archive of digital games at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
A fireside chat with Dan Murray, president of Skybound Interactive (The Walking Dead, Invincible, Thief of Thieves and many more)
As President of Skybound Interactive, Dan Murray oversees the company’s robust gaming business. He works closely with the industry’s leading publishers, developers and investors to extend Skybound’s IP into mobile and console games. Skybound’s game slate includes Telltale’s The Walking Dead series, Scopely’s The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, Night School’s Oxenfree, Free Range Games’ Labyrinth, Disruptor Beam’s The Walking Dead: March to War, and Rival Games’ Thief of Thieves. In addition, Skybound Interactive has a handful of video game projects in the pipeline including Overkill’s The Walking Dead from Starbreeze and Super Dinosaur for mobile devices with Big Blue Bubble. Prior to joining Skybound, Dan ran worldwide business development for Foundation 9 Entertainment, the largest independent videogame developer in the world creating franchise- based video games on every major platform. During this tenure he helped close over 60 major video game deals including Killer Instinct and Strider. Dan graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Finance.
E.B. Updegraff leads the team at Hatchlings, Inc. as they crafting casual social game experiences for players all over the world. She has spent her career in both the corporate and non-profit sectors building content-driven digital experiences for hobbyist consumers, supporting communities of fans and followers, creating online marketplaces that cultivate new audiences and sales, and leading teams through transitions and growth. When she’s not crafting exciting online experiences for players at Hatchlings, E.B. runs a couple of D&D campaigns, tries to keep up with the latest animated character her toddler is obsessed with, and always has a new project running on her 3D printer.
Emil Harmsen is a Certified Scrum Professional with over 9 years’ experience practicing Agile and Scrum methodologies within Game Development. Emil is a serial entrepreneur currently heading Forever Interactive Inc, which aims to foster a growing gaming industry in the Midwest. He is also a Full-Time Computer Simulation & Gaming Instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College and has served as a Lean Startup mentor and Instructor for Ideadvance as well as the VETransfer and VictorySpark accelerators. Prior to his roles in teaching and entrepreneurship, Emil was a solider in the U.S. Army Reserve and was invited to a White House Workshop on Veteran Entrepreneurship. Emil earned an Associates degree in Interactive Media and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Strategic Management of Information Systems.
Richard Van Eck is the founding Dr. David and Lola Rognlie Monson Endowed Chair in Medical Education and Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). He has a PhD in instructional design, an MA in English, and a BA in English and Psychology. He has been studying games and learning since 1995, serving as designer, evaluator, and/or principal investigator on seven STEM education games, most recently an NIH radon awareness game (Project RAHI). He is the PI on the SMHS’s AMA Innovation grant and on the AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium projects: interprofessional telemedicine simulations (ROBOTS) and gamification for competency-based medical education. He is a frequent keynote speaker, presenter, and author on serious games, including two edited volumes on interdisciplinary approaches to serious games, cover stories on digital game-based learning for Educause Review (It’s Not Just the Digital Natives Who Are Restless; Still Restless After All These Years) and presentations at TEDx Manitoba and SXSW.
Eric B. Bauman, PhD, RN has been described by his peers as living on the bleeding edge of technology development. His expertise focuses on game-based teaching and learning, and simulation. Dr. Bauman’s experience spans various disciplines, but he is most well known for his award winning work focusing on medical, nursing and health sciences education. He has provided subject matter expertise and executive production for over 20 mobile game-based applications and VR/AR experiences. Dr. Bauman is a Fellow in the Academy for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) and work his work has been presented at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, as well as the White House. Dr. Bauman is Assistant Dean for Technology Development for the Innovation Center of Excellence at Adtalem Global Education and is also founding and managing member of Clinical Playground LLC.
Matthew Berland is an Associate Professor of Digital Media in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction with affiliate appointments in the iSchool and Computer Sciences at UW–Madison. He uses design-based research to design, create, and study games that support students' creative agency.
Moses Wolfenstein is an educator and game developer with over 15 years of experience designing and researching games and gamification systems for learning across corporate, higher ed, and K-12 settings. He holds a PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from University of Wisconsin-Madison where he worked with the Games, Learning, & Society research group studying and designing games for learning and training. Moses currently works as a freelance consultant and developer based in Madison, WI.